Ready-Made Solutions: ADU Designs That Will Inspire Homeowners

June 12, 2020

Think outside the box with these ADU designs. This is why ADU homes beat all other traditional building plans and prefab products.

You've read about the benefits that accessory dwelling units (ADUs) can provide. You know they're valuable resources that can help multi-generational families age in place. They can even be a source of passive, secondary income if you rent yours out!

In response, you've decided to renovate a portion of your home into an ADU. Or, you've decided to build an entirely new structure on your property.

Either way, you need ideas and inspirations for your ADU designs! What interior and exterior looks are on-trend these days, and which ones are on their way out? Today, we're sharing the latest layouts that can instantly transform your space.

Double-Height Interiors

Do you have the space to construct a two-story ADU? While there are benefits and drawbacks to having a two-story dwelling, consider the dramatic effect you could create with a double-height interior.

Rather than chopping the space up and keeping your ceilings low, why not remove the ceiling and allow that bottom level to soar? This makes an especially striking appearance in a library or home office, where you might need a ladder to reach the top shelf!

Vaulted ceilings are a simple but striking way to add visual interest to your ADU. Though they require an additional up-front investment, they deliver an incredible look that you won't regret.

Upper-Level Loft Spaces

In addition to a single-focus room, a double-height layout can also accommodate a lower-level living space, accompanied by an upper loft bedroom or living area. If you're considering adding a loft, it's worth checking into. You can use it as an additional storage room, a playroom for children, or even an additional sleeping area.

One point to note? Lofts are not allowed in every jurisdiction. This is why it's critical to work with a knowledgable local builder who is well-versed in all of your area's rules and regulations.

Studio Floor Plans

The small footprint of an ADU doesn't have to be a major design challenge. At the same time, it also doesn't have to mean going without the comforts of home that you're used to.

A studio floor plan combines your essential living spaces into an open-concept layout, so everything is accessible and within reach. Essentially, this layout features one large, multi-purpose room as the focal point. Here, you'll find your kitchen and living spaces.

Usually, the living room will double as the bedroom. For instance, there might be a Murphy bed along the wall or the sofa might convert into a bed when it's time to unwind. Along with this main room, you'll have a bathroom off to one side. This is a great way to maximize the space you have available.

Garage With Overhead Storage

Building an effective ADU requires carefully considering how you can squeeze usability into every square inch. That said, if you're adding a garage to yours, why not turn the upper portion into a storage compartment?

Even if there isn't enough space to add an actual living area up there, you can always portion it off and use it to hold off-season decorations, lawn gear, and other accessories that would otherwise be in the way.

Extended Outdoor Living Spaces

Who says you have to spend all of your time indoors when you live in an ADU? A covered front or back porch allows you to extend your living space tenfold, all while enjoying the great outdoors.

If you plan to use this area all year long, it's worth making the investment to cover it. You can even convert it into an actual sunroom and extend your heating and cooling systems out to it! However, even if you simply screen it in or leave it open on the sides, you can still enjoy it.

Bring comfortable seating out here, along with a table or two for dining al fresco!

Smaller Amenities

In many ways, modern ADU living is similar to apartment living. This means that you can often get by with smaller amenities, such as a space-efficient laundry closet versus an oversized laundry room.

The same theory applies to your kitchen, bedroom closets, and even your outdoor patio. If you're willing to scale back certain areas, you can give more living space to your great room! Consider where you're willing to sacrifice space and where you need the extra room, and allow those priorities to guide your design.

Build-Ready ADUs

Construction and renovation can be an interesting pursuit, but not all homeowners are up to the task of creating a new vision from scratch or choosing every fixture in their ADU. If you'd rather let an expert take the reins, why not consider a build-ready design?

In short, these are pre-designed floor plans that already include the basic elements that an ADU will require. They are created via a partnership between a builder's architectural and interior design teams.

Key components of a build-ready ADU include:

  • Elevations
  • Structural engineering
  • Interior design packages

While you will be somewhat limited in the floor plans and customizations you can select, most homeowners prefer the ease of a build-ready ADU. It can also help you expedite the building process and get into your new home quicker! If you want to avoid the high costs associated with initial residential design, engineering, and interior design, this is an ideal way to go.

You can view more information about the build-ready ADU homes provided by one California builder, Acton ADU, here:

Browse More ADU Designs and Inspirations

Whether you're eyeing an in-law suite for your spouse's parents, a granny pod for the senior in your life, or a converted garage apartment for your college kid, the possibilities are endless with ADU designs.

When you're ready to get started, it's helpful to go online and browse ideas to see what others are doing! While every ADU will be unique, there's no need to reinvent the wheel if someone has already envisioned the ideal layout for your needs!

Along the way, we welcome you to keep reading our blog! Check out the Home and Garden section for more ideas on how to spruce up your new space.

JJ Sterling
As the co-founder of Urban Splatter and an architecture graduate from Chicago, I thrive on crafting a digital nexus where architectural innovation intersects with boundless digital opportunity. My academic roots in the Windy City's rich architectural tapestry inspire a unique vision for Urban Splatter's journey into the ever-evolving digital frontier of design. Join us as we navigate the exciting confluence of structure, style, and technology.

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